[meteorite-list] Moon Rock Returns To Honduras
From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu Apr 22 10:32:44 2004
Moon rock on a roll: to Honduras
March 1, 2004
Honduran President Ricardo Maduro over the weekend was presented
with a tiny lunar rock that made a meandering journey through
Central America and South Florida -- passing through the hands
of a Broward businessman -- after it was plucked from the moon
by Apollo astronauts and given to Honduras by President Nixon in
''Thank you for returning this material that is so valuable to
the world,'' said Maduro, in a ceremony on Saturday attended
by NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe and Peruvian astronaut Carlos
The rock, scooped off the moon and presented to Honduran dictator
Gen. Osvaldo López Arellano, was sold by a retired Honduran
colonel to Alan J. Rosen, a businessman who lived in Pembroke
Pines, in 1996. Rosen offered $20,000 plus a truck worth $10,000.
Federal agents heard Rosen was trying to unload the rock and, in
a raid, recovered the rock from an Aventura bank vault. Rosen
was not charged.
NASA had turned over the moon rock to the Honduran ambassador in
September after a federal court ruled the chunk rightfully
belonged to Honduras.
For a while after Honduras was given the rock, it was displayed
in the presidential residence, mounted inside a transparent
globe on a wooden plaque bearing the Honduran flag. But it
disappeared sometime between 1990 and 1994 and was not
recovered until 1998.
Confiscated from Rosen and tested for authenticity by NASA, the
3.5-billion-year-old rock stayed in the United States
during a four-year court battle for possession.
The rock, which measures about half an inch in length, will be
placed on public exhibition in the Centro Interactivo Chiminike,
an education center in the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa that
receives hundreds of young student visitors a day.
Received on Mon 01 Mar 2004 01:04:01 PM PST